Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A Month of Sundays

Found via peaceable kin-dom is this interesting article from a Seattle newspaper, The Stranger, where a group of atheist/agnostic writers visit thirty faith communities (mostly churches) in Seattle and give short, funny, irreverent, eye-opening, sometimes thoughtful reflections on their experiences. Most of them don't seem open to finding meaning in the services, which isn't surprising given the nature of the assignment, but some of the reflections show that the experiences were at least thought provoking.

What would someone who was an atheist or agnostic write about attending worship at your church? I'm sure they would find some things to be quirky at St. Paul's, but hopefully they'd also find people to be genuine and friendly. The reflections are particularly harsh on 'contemporary Christian music' in worship, which may or may not surprise you, and generally the responses reflect a great fear of being singled out as a visitor - something to think about. (Have you ever been singled out as a visitor in worship before? I've had this happen, and usually am extremely embarrassed. I may stand up in front a lot, but I'm an introvert!) Anyway, interesting reading.

3 comments:

~c. said...

Read 1-10...mostly predictable cynacism (which means that the atheists in Seattle have a lot in common with the Christians I know in most places). But number 10, I found to be honest and a relief. I'll go back later to read the rest.

~c. said...

I made it a point to go through each report and highlight something important. Doing this made me see te value of their experiment and the ways the church fails and succeeds. Very good article in the end.

Lorna (see through faith) said...

but hopefully they'd also find people to be genuine and friendly ... hopefully? I think this is something every church can work on ... people genuinely noticing each other and not only hanging out with the in and safe crowd.

I agree it's horrible to be singled out -and to receive a cheer or clap - for having turned up ... yuck ... better to have a welcome package and for an usher to notice newbies - check that they are indeed that - and give them a welcoming gift and introduce them to someone.

We have a lot to learn ...